Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rice Stockpile Goes Up

From The Korean Herald Yesterday:

Government to buy 430,000 tons of rice

The government will purchase 430,000 metric tons of rice this year to add to the nation's emergency reserve, the government said yesterday.

The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting yesterday, as officials decided to buy 14 percent less for the emergency stockpile for 2007 compared to the 504,000 tons bought last year.

Farmers will be paid 48,450 won per 40 kilograms of unhusked rice, the same as last year's rate, ahead of the account settlement period in January 2008, the government said. Of the total, 317,000 tons will be bought packaged in sacks, while the remaining 115,000 tons will be purchased without being packaged. Farmers will receive 670 won less, or 47,780 won, for the unpackaged rice.

The government switched to the emergency stockpile system in 2005 from the system of buying fall crops. Purchase prices for the rice reserve are based on the average price of homegrown rice during the harvest season between October and December.

The government's emergency reserve for the staple grain is a way of protecting the local rice market. Local farmers have been suffering from a declining trend of rice consumption as market opening brings in more diversity of choices.

Rice production is also threatened by a decline in available arable land for cultivation.

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